Monday, May 29, 2017

On Rewatching Star Trek: Voyager - Season 5

Season 5 highlights:

"Night" - Voyager is basically becalmed in a seemingly endless region with no stars. The ending falls apart a bit with some preachiness (remind me, Janeway, why it's okay to kill polluters?), but the setting is an unusual one for the show (until Season 7's excellent "The Void," anyway).

"Once Upon a Time" - Neelix cares for the young Naomi Wildman when her mother goes missing on an away mission. Neelix's own emotions about the deaths of his family members influence his decision not to tell Naomi the truth right away.

"Nothing Human" - Creating a realistic-looking non-humanoid alien on a TV budget is tough. But creating a tricky moral dilemma - that's what science fiction was created for. I still don't know if I agree with the Doctor's decision at the end of the episode, but I think the moral quandary he faces is one worth considering.

"Counterpoint" - Captain Janeway gets laid less than any other Starfleet captain, which is a real shame. Here, she falls for a sexy jackbooted thug, and their chemistry makes the story work. I buy her falling for the flirtatious Inspector Kashyk (Mark Harelik), who has the advantage of not being a member of her crew. I also buy her being far too smart to let her emotions get the better of her.

"Bride of Chaotica!" - Okay, so I complain about the holodeck being used in too many storylines. But in this case, seeing Janeway swan around as the Queen of the Spider People makes it all worth it.

"Course: Oblivion" - This episode pays off "Demon," and gives us our only glimpse of the Tom Paris/B'Elanna Torres wedding. It's very sad.

"Think Tank" - Jason Alexander is wonderfully oily as a member of a mercenary think tank that sets its sights on recruiting Seven of Nine. (Also, do we buy the claim that they cured the Vidiian phage? I like to think so.)

"Someone to Watch Over Me" - It's pretty funny to watch the normally self-possessed Seven of Nine awkwardly pursue a cute and hapless crewman. I appreciate, too, that Robert Picardo (the Doctor) is smart enough to call back to this episode on occasion, with just a trace of longing in his eyes.

"Equinox, Part I" - What if Voyager's Year of Hell was their main experience of the Delta Quadrant? We get to see the answer to this question when Voyager makes contact with another Federation ship that's seen better days and is under attack by aliens.

Season 5 losers:

"Extreme Risk" - Ugh, poor B'Elanna and her inability to process emotions. The Klingons have never been my favorite species, because often they are trapped in situations like this one. I always sympathize with B'Elanna, but I also think she needs a good therapy session. (Doesn't that holodeck have therapists programmed into it?)

"Gravity" - I've never been a fan of the single-episode romances. The character of Noss is a little too irritatingly cute and quirky for my tastes, and Tuvok's attachment to her makes zero sense.

"The Fight" - Poor Chakotay. He always seems to get trapped in these god-awful episodes. His character is often such a blank that it's no wonder the writers don't give him good material. (Seriously, they should have just put him and Janeway together briefly so he'd have something interesting to do in later seasons.)

"Juggernaut" - The Malon are a dead-end species, storytelling-wise. The story of nasty, illogical polluters has just been done to death. And the fact that early episodes made it clear that Voyager has a magical cure for disposing of theta radiation makes the Malon seem incredibly dumb and short-sighted.

"11:59" - I get the sense that Kate Mulgrew twisted some arms to get this episode featuring a distant ancestor of Kathryn Janeway made. It's an okay story, but it's not a Voyager story.

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